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Pectin
Overview
Pectin is a fiber found in fruits. It is used to make medicine.
People use pectin for high cholesterol, high triglycerides, and to prevent colon cancer and prostate cancer. It is also used for diabetes and gastroesophageal reflux disease (GERD). Some people use pectin to prevent poisoning caused by lead, strontium, and other heavy metals.

Pectin was used for years in combination with kaolin (Kaopectate) to control diarrhea. However, in April 2003, the FDA found ruled that scientific evidence does not support the use of pectin for diarrhea. Since April 2004, pectin has not been permitted as an anti-diarrhea agent in over-the-counter (OTC) products. As a result, Kaopectate no longer contains pectin and kaolin.

Some people apply pectin to the skin to protect raw or ulcerated mouth and throat sores.
Pectin is used as a thickening agent in cooking and baking. In manufacturing, pectin is an ingredient in some denture adhesives. Pectin binds substances in the intestine and adds bulk to the stools.


What is Pectin?
Pectin is a thickening agent found in fruits and vegetables that is used to gel jams and jellies. It is most often derived from apples or orange peels, and can be purchased in powdered or liquid form.

Pectin is a complex carbohydrate, which is found both in the cell walls of plants, and between the cell walls, helping to regulate the flow of water in between cells and keeping them rigid. You’ll note some plants begin to lose part of this complex carbohydrate as they age. Apples left out too long get soft and mushy as pectin diminishes. When apples are just ripe, they have a firm and crisp texture, mainly due to the presence of pectin.

In cooking, pectin is used as a thickening agent, and could be considered one of the most natural types around. The first pectin available for purchase was derived from apples, which have a high amount of it. There are other fruits that naturally contain this gelling agent, including many plums and pears.


Where it is found
Bananas
Bananas are rich in potassium, pectin, vitamins B6 and C. The WHFoods.com states that potassium is a vital mineral for maintaining normal blood pressure and heart function. Eating bananas can also help prevent muscle cramps, which is especially beneficial if you spend a lot of time doing physical activities.

Apples
Apples are a rich source of pectin and vitamin C. Eating several apples per day can greatly contribute to healthy digestion. The fiber inside apples adds bulk to stools and helps the digestive system run efficiently by binding to toxins and flushing these out of the body. WHFoods.com states that the phytonutrients in apples can help regulate blood sugar as well. Add chopped apples with walnuts to your favorite salad or bake fresh apple pie.

Legumes
Legumes are foods that fall into the bean family such as peas, lentils, sprouts and kidney beans. Add raw legumes to your favorite salad or steam legumes and serve with dinner recipes. You can also add legumes to your favorite vegetable soups. Legumes are high in pectin, but they are also high in protein, calcium and iron. Other types of legumes are garbanzo beans, pinto beans, navy beans and black beans.

Apricots
Apricots are another pectin-rich food. This sweet fruit also contains vitamins A and C, potassium and even some amino acids such as tryptophan. The WHFoods.com says that apricots may help reduce LDL cholesterol from oxidation, which can help prevent heart disease. In addition, apricots can also help protect your eyesight. Avoid buying canned apricots because excess syrup and other sugars are often added to the fruit. Enjoy whole fresh apricots or buy dried apricots instead.

Carrots
Carrots are another good source of pectin and other nutrients such as vitamins A, C, K, B6 as well as magnesium. WHFoods.com states that the beta-carotene found in carrots can help protect your vision, especially night vision. The nutrients in carrots also help protect the eyes from macular degeneration and other age-related eye problems.

Benefits / uses
Cancer Prevention
Pectin inhibits prostate cancer, according to a study published in the June 2010 "Integrative Cancer Therapies" journal. In the study on prostate cancer and prostatic hypertrophy tissue cultures, citrus pectin, as part of a commercial preparation, inhibited cell reproduction and induced apoptosis -- programmed cell death -- in four days of treatment. Pectin was effective on both hormone-dependent and hormone-independent cancers and exhibited up to 54 percent toxicity on cancer cells. The researchers concluded that the pectin product may be useful for the prevention and treatment of prostate cancer and benign prostatic hypertrophy.

Stress Reduction
Pectin reduced stress chemicals in the brain, according to a study published in the Winter 2007 "Nutrition Research and Practice." In the study, laboratory rats that consumed a high-fat diet with pectin for four weeks had remarkably lower levels of the neurotransmitters and stress hormones epinephrine and norepinephrine in parts of their brains involved in physical response to stress. Conversely, blood levels of norepinephrine were higher in the pectin group than in groups that did not receive pectin, and dopamine levels in the blood were lower in the pectin group.

Drug Delivery
Pectin may form the basis for a supplement aimed at preventing colon cancer, according to one study. Beads containing zinc-pectinate were tested, in the study, as a method of delivering the antioxidant resveratrol to the colon. The pectin-containing beads were effective at preventing absorption of resveratrol in the small intestine, thereby enabling the resveratrol to reach the colon. The researchers concluded that zinc-pectinate beads were able to hold high amounts of resveratrol and deliver it effectively to the colon, in a delayed-release fashion. The study was published in the June 2010 "AAPS PharmSciTech" journal.

Doses
For high cholesterol: 15 grams of pectin per day.

Possible Side effects / Precautions / Possible Interactions:
Pectin is LIKELY SAFE when taken in food amounts and POSSIBLY SAFE for most people, including children and pregnant and breast-feeding women, when used in medicinal amounts.

When taken by mouth in combination with guar gum and insoluble fiber (the combination used to lower cholesterol and other blood fats), pectin can cause diarrhea, gas, and loose stools.

People who are exposed to pectin dust at work, such as in manufacturing, may develop asthma.


Interaction:
Antibiotics (Tetracycline antibiotics) interacts with PECTIN
Pectin might decrease the amount of tetracycline antibiotics that can be absorbed. Taking pectin with tetracycline antibiotics might decrease the effectiveness of tetracyclines. To avoid this interaction take pectin two hours before or four hours after taking tetracycline antibiotics.


Some tetracycline antibiotics include demeclocycline (Declomycin), minocycline (Minocin), and tetracycline (Achromycin).


Digoxin (Lanoxin) interacts with PECTIN
Pectin is high in fiber. Fiber can decrease the absorption and decrease the effectiveness of digoxin (Lanoxin). As a general rule, any medications taken by mouth should be taken one hour before or four hours after pectin to prevent this interaction.

Lovastatin (Mevacor) interacts with PECTIN
Lovastatin (Mevacor) is used to help lower cholesterol. Pectin might decrease how much lovastatin (Mevacor) the body absorbs and decrease the effectiveness of lovastatin (Mevacor). To avoid this interaction take pectin at least one hour after lovastatin (Mevacor).

References:
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Inohara H, et al. Effects of natural complex carbohydrate (citrus pectin) on murine melanoma cell properties related to galectin-3 functions. Glycoconj J 1994 Dec 11 (6) :537-32
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Guess BW et al; Prostate Oncology Specialist, Marina del Rey, California; “Modified citrus pectin (MCP) increases the prostate-specific antigen doubling time in men with prostate cancer: a phase II pilot study”; Prostate Cancer Prostatic Dis. 2003;6(4):301-4;
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Rachael Wojnowski, Jiahua Jiang, Andrej Jedinak, and Daniel Sliva; Modified citrus pectin enhances the effect of novel dietary supplement formulas inhibition of invasiveness of breast and prostate cancer cells by down-regulation of urikinase plasminogen activator (uPA) secretion: Report from Dept. of Medicine, School of Medicine, Indiana University, Indianapolis, Indiana
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David Platt, Avraham Raz, Modulation of the Lung Colonization of B16-F1 Melanoma Cells by Citrus Pectin; Journal of the National Cancer Institute : Vol. 84, No. 6 March 18, 1992
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Califice, S., Castronova, V., and Van den Brule, F., 2004. Galectin-3 and cancer, Int. J. Oncol., 25:983-92;
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Jackson CL et al, Dept of Biochemistry and Molecular Biology, Univ. of Georgia, “Pectin induces apoptosis in human prostate cancer cells: correlation of apoptotic function with pectin structure;” Glycobiology., 2007 Aug;17(8):805-19. Epub 2007 May 19;
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Glinsky, Vladislav et al; Dept. of Pathology and Anatomical Sciences, Univ of Missouri; Karmanos Cancer Center, Wayne State Univ.; “Modified citrus pectin anti-metastatic properties: one bullet, multiple targets”; Carbohydrate Research, Vol 344, Issue 14, 28 Sept 2009
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Wongkham et al; Khon Kaen University, Thailand; Graduate School of Medical Sciences, Kumamoto University, Japan; “Suppression of galectin-3 expression enhances apoptosis and chemosensitivity in liver fluke-associated cholangiocarcinoma”; Cancer Science; Volume 100, Issue 11, pages 2077–2084, November 2009;
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Nangia-Makker P et al; Karmanos Cancer Institute, Wayne State University Department of Pathology; “Galectin-3 in apoptosis, a novel therapeutic target”; Journal of Bioenergetics and Biomembranes Volume 39, Number 1, 79-84, DOI: 10.1007/s10863-006-9063-9;
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